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Late Season For Big Bucks
By Dakota

If its trophy type hunting you are looking for, try late season. After most hunters have given up and retired to the rocking chair, the woods return to normal, and the big bucks settle down. A few factors start to weigh in on the side of the patient hunter. Where I hunt, in the Adirondack Mts. of northern N.Y., the weather has turned cold, with snow by late season. The cold weather forces the deer to feed more often. This will eventually bring the bucks out in the daylight. Locate the feeding areas where you hunt. Look for the Mast crop, Acorns and Beechnuts are favored that time of year. If you find a good Mast Crop, you are in for some good hunting. The snow gives you much better visibility, and the advantage of being able to track. Slow tracking, and I mean very slow tracking, will often yield the hunter a shot. Remember to keeping looking far ahead of you. The buck will often stop to see who, or what is following him.

The Rut is by no means over in late season. I know there has been much debate about peak Rut. There are some fine Whitetail Hunters out there who think it to be less than a week. To that I say, bunk. In over 30 years of chasing Big Whitetails, I have learned the big bucks come in rut a little later, and stay in a little longer. Mature bucks are in Rut by Nov. 10th, and stay in thru mid Dec. in my area. New York has a week of Black Powder hunting after Rifle finishes up on or around Dec. 1st. A few years back I was tracking a buck that put down three scrapes on the way from his bed, where I bumped him, to the feeding area. It was Dec. 6th and he was still in full Rut. All doe are not bred on their first cycle. The ones that are not will come in again in thirty days. The big bucks are going to be there to breed the doe that come in late.

Follow the heavy traveled runs to the feeding area. You will be able to see where they are feeding in the snow. Pick a place on the edge of the feeding area to place a portable stand. Never place the stand in the open, as they will see it and change feeding areas. Try to place your stand in a place you can reach in the dark. I use tacks that glow in the dark. When your flashlight shines on them they light up. I tack the trail in, and out from my stand. You want to be in the stand and settled down by first light. You will find most big bucks start to head for their bed at first light. Stay back as far as you can and still have a shot. Place a few dead limbs against the stand as camo.

Now comes the hardest part, be patient. Spending time in the stand in late season calls for some changes on your part. You will need to gear up for the cold. A good pair of cold weather hunting boots are a must. You will not last long with cold feet. I make sure I use rubber boots, as they are scent free. Insulated bibs and parka are a good investment for this kind of hunting. You can buy some great cold weather clothing in snow camo, my favorite. I wear an orange vest over my snow camo to and from my stand. Use a good cover scent. I use Fox Urine, or sometimes Pine Scent. There are two things to remember when using a cover scent. First you must pick a scent common to the area you are hunting. An example of this would be, do not try using Apple scent in an area with no Apple trees. That kind of scent cover won't work. The second is to not use too much. One drop of cover scent goes a long way.

If you can sit 2 or 3 hours at a time, you will have a much better chance for success. Remember, dress warm, be patient, and hunt the feeding areas. Even the bucks that are out of Rut, still need to feed. Good hunting.